Sunday, February 15, 2009
Big South Fork NRRA: Maude's Crack
Our trip started with a long drive from Lexington down Interstate 75, around Somerset, over to Monticello, and south into Tennessee. Once we got into Tennessee we were shocked to find the road blocked by a friendly Tennessee State Park Ranger who informed us that an 18 wheeler was stuck half-on and half-off the road ahead. Luckily, we were barely able to squeeze past the stranded tractor trailer and made left the paved road at the Divide Road. From there we spent about another half hour traversing gravel roads to the Terry Cemetery.
Terry Cemetery marks the point of the trailhead. From there we hit the trail, first ascending, then descending to the Maude's Crack Overlook. It is an impressive overlook there, with views of surrounding vertical walls of sandstone. It is also at this point that Maude's Crack becomes evident. Maude's Crack is a narrow crack in the sandstone that descends to the valley floor in an almost ramp-like manner. It was a lot of fun traversing the crack.
At the bottom of the crack we intersected the John Muir Trail. We decided to make a left to follow out intended loop in a counter-clockwise manner. When we reached the Big South Fork River we stated to see signs of a long vanished community. Perhaps these structures represented the outskirts of the once thriving community of No Business. We followed the river to No Business Creek. Although the official trail crossed the creek to follow some horse trails, we decided to bushwack on the other side of the creek to avoid a deep cold creek crossing. The bushwacking was rough. We were constantly struggling with the Multiflora Rose. We did get to see some interesting sights though, old rocks walls and fences left over from long ago.
Finally we rejoined the John Muir Trail where we hiked .9 miles back to Maude's Crack. From there we ascended back up the crack, along the trail and to our car. It was an interesting hike.
In addition to our hike in the Big South Fork, we made a short detour on the way home to Mill Springs Mill, the site of a Civil War battle, an old mill,